My favorite critics are my daughters. It's not because they are an easy audience. On the contrary, they are tough readers -- and they are very willing to point out the many flaws in my writing.
They are my ideal readers because, even though they are in their teen years, they are still very young at heart. Most of their positive traits were inherited from their mother, and the remainder of the qualities were developed by themselves through their years of martial arts training. However, a bit of my flair for whimsy and an appreciation for the imaginary seems to have rubbed off on them.
I trust their judgment, and that trust has served me well. If they love one of my plays or stories in draft form, it usually succeeds.
So, today I finished editing the second draft of a picture book (the one about paper airplanes). I read it to the girls. They gave it a pretty good review. Three out of four stars. They pointed out a couple "cheesy" areas that could be improved. I'll try to fix it before I send it to my agent next month.
The rest of the day (when I wasn't watching season one of Game of Thrones or the last twenty minutes of Star Trek: First Contact) I developed ideas for yet another picture book.
I've said this before, but picture book writing is surprisingly challenging. Most of my ideas need time to cook. I'll let you know if this one turns out just another half-baked idea, but so far I'm having fun. The girls will be my first audience, as usual.